Santiam, Middle - 2. Green Peter Dam to Foster Reservoir

Santiam, Middle, Oregon, US


2. Green Peter Dam to Foster Reservoir

Usual Difficulty II-IV (varies with level)
Length 2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 36 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-14186200 699.00 - 710.00 ft II-IV 00h22m 696.2 ft (too low)
Base flows, can be done if desperate.

River Description

Short dam controlled run between a couple of reservoirs.

Check out descriptions at

Oregon Kayaking

Wheels and Water


This stretch is generally done in the Summer at either 1 or 2 units.

1 unit is usually between 1,000-2,000 cfs

2 units is usually 2,500-4,000 cfs.

Check out this gauge (third graph down) or this other one and try to figure out what the schedule is.  It often releases in the evening, so after work runs are practical.  You can also try calling the dam operators to get the release schedule.

If it is all a big headache, try getting in touch with a local boater, someone will probably know what the deal is.

There is a short walk in along a road to the base of Green Peter Dam.  The run starts off as moving flat water and builds towards class III as it reaches the three named rapids 1.4 miles after putting on.  This warm up section has many dynamic eddies, small pour-overs for boof practice and some surf spots, contributing to some of the features that make this a good summertime training run.

The named rapids come in quick succession and start off with Swiss Cheese (III-III+), which is most often run center/right.  Below is a large pool before Scrawley's Wall (III-IV), which is usually entered on the left, moving back to center after a large pour-over in the middle of the river.  Take care not to get pushed into the left wall.  At some flows there are good surf waves in the runout here, but again, that left wall is a concern.

A moving stretch of water seperates Scrawley's Wall from Concussion (class IV).  Be mindful of a hazardous sieve in the center of the rapid near the top.  Because of this sieve, entering the rapid center is best avoided altogether.  Concussion is most often entered along the right bank, driving hard back to center behind the rock seperating the center and right channels in order to avoid a decent sized hydraulic along the bank (this hydraulic can be cleared with speed and a strong stroke, but has also surfed its fair share of boaters).  There are a few more notable hydraulics near the bottom of the rapid, none would hold a swimmer but flips are not uncommon.  There is a final rock in the center of the rapid most boaters go right of as the current enters what is usually the slack water of Foster Reservoir.

A number of alternate lines present themselves in all the rapids, a multitude of eddies and interesting currents make slalom style paddling enjoyable.  If you are a local this is probably the best whitewater available close by in the late summer and as you learn the river new lines will present themselves and if that becomes too mundane this run is condusive to playboating.  Its short length means many laps can be had.  


Detailed Gauge


Directions:  Take I-5 to Hwy 20 East to Sweet Home.  About 5 miles East of Sweet Home turn North onto Quartzville Rd. 

You will cross a couple bridges and shortly be parrelleling what is typically a flat river (when Foster Reservoir is low it may be flowing class I-II).

2.8 miles after turning onto Quartzville Rd, pull over onto the shoulder on the side of the road opposite the river, this is the take out and there is a short trail leading to a small bedrock protrusion that marks the take out from the water, mind the poison oak (avoidable most years).

If you start climbing away from the stream on the road you have passed the take out.

1.5 miles upstream of the take out a paved road goes off to the right, it can  sneak up on you.  Park here (do not block the gate) and walk about half a mile down to some stairs leading to the river within site of the dam.  Put in here.


Put in parking: 44.4442, -122.5591

Take out parking: 44.4381, -122.5879





StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-08-22 20:03:13


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
September 10 2017 (431 days ago)
Priscilla_Macy (157789)
A sherriff spoke with our group and stated that he had spoke with the Dam operators and it is OK
and legal for boaters to hike the road to the dam to access the river. Please be respectful of the
access point and DO NOT block the gate. Walk-in access is permitted.
September 8 2017 (433 days ago)
clinton begleyDetails
Locals have reported at least two incidents this summer of Dam operators calling the sheriff on
boaters using that road. Other access exists, but in all cases involves a heinous descent to the
river and a shortened run. Downstream from the historical access road about 1/2 mile is a guard
rail on the river side of the road with a little turnout. Currently has stakes with pink flagging
for ongoing road work. There is a steep fishermans trail that gets you to about 1/4 mile above
Swiss Cheese. Bring good shoes and maybe a rope. At least one boat has made an un-manned descent
all the way through Swiss Cheese from being dropped at the put-in.

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